MIKE NIETO: What does Add A. Tude have to say about this?

2013-03-13T19:00:00Z 2013-03-14T06:01:08Z MIKE NIETO: What does Add A. Tude have to say about this?Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
March 13, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

The message was played on the video board at Peoria's Carver Arena throughout the weekend.

It showed people acting ridiculous in real-life situations, then asked if you would act that way at a sporting event. The Illinois High School Association has a "Do What's Right!" program which the organization's website says is one of the largest and most extensive sportsmanship programs in the country, complete with its own mascot: Add A. Tude, the walking, talking, dancing letter "A."

Maybe that was the preview of what was to happen on Saturday night at the Class 2A state boys basketball championship.

Harrisburg beat Seton Academy 50-44. What went on during and after the game was the antithesis of good sportsmanship.

It was a tough and emotional game. Seton's leading scorer, Mark Weems, was ejected with 2:05 left in the second quarter for touching an official. He was fouled, then was given a technical for his reaction. When he tried to plead his case, he touched an official — an automatic ejection. Weems is not a hothead, but reacted to the situation.

There is no doubt if he was in the game, Seton would have won.

Seton coach Brandon Thomas took his team off the court after it received its second-place medals, then left the court and did not return to accept the second-place trophy. As a result, it forfeited the trophy.

While Thomas was upset at the officiating and the events that took place, that's not the whole story. Some Seton fans at the game told me Thomas' wife, who was holding their young son, was being heckled by a fan and he saw that and got upset. Who could blame him? It is easy to sit back and say he should not have reacted, but think about if you were in his place. I am sure most of us would have tried to go after that fan — who was led out of the arena.

Seton athletic director Deon Tolliver confirmed that Thomas has been placed on administrative leave.

There seemed to be more going on between the fans than the players. That is a shame when the adults get caught up and it turns ugly.

Thomas and the school apologized through statements on Monday. I have come to know Thomas pretty well, and he is not the bad person everyone is making him out to be. He is there to set an example and he did not set a good one, but I think he knows that.

The IHSA is still looking into the matter and nobody is sure what will happen.

We just hope that this never happens again.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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